Sandy "Firemom38" McHugh and Haley
For Sandy McHugh, 2009 has been an exciting year full of new beginnings. The eBay seller, known as Firemom38, recently celebrated the birth of a grandchild and the launch of her new online store, Scrapbooks Crafts Collectables Plus, on Auctiva Commerce.
"It's been a busy time for me," she says with a laugh. "I've been taking care of my new grandbaby the last few months, so I haven't been able to put in as much time on the new store as I would like. But I'm really excited about Auctiva Commerce. I think it's going to be great."
Having been on eBay for almost five years, McHugh is ready to expand into a new environment.
Her online selling experience began like that of many others: as a virtual garage sale. From there, she says, "It just sort of grew." And grew. Until sales reached a point that eBay convinced her to open an eBay Store.
It was at that point McHugh decided to specialize in scrapbooking and craft supplies. A crafting enthusiast for many years, she had created a number of scrapbook "embellishments" for her own use and figured they might sell on eBay. Did they ever.
She also sells clothing, jewelry, postage stamps, vintage items and a few other things.
"I was clearing about $200 a week, sometimes $300 or $400," she says. "Around Christmastime it would get up to about $500 a week."
I'm doing everything I can to promote [my Auctiva Commerce store]
Shaping a new pattern
When Auctiva began offering its e-commerce stores in January, McHugh was among the first to sign up. These days, it's where she's focusing her efforts.
"I've still got a few items in my eBay Store, but I've been concentrating on the Auctiva Commerce Store," she says. "I've got a lot more items I'd like to get listed."
McHugh says she'll still use eBay to auction those items that lend themselves to that format, but hopes to make Auctiva Commerce her primary e-commerce platform.
"I'm doing everything I can to promote it," she continues, including becoming a blogger on sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Squidoo and Twitter—anyplace she can paste her URL. And she includes a link to her Store in the signature block of every e-mail she sends to anyone for any purpose.
"Another thing I really like is, when people looking at your eBay listings click on your Auctiva Scrolling Gallery, it takes them to your Auctiva eBay store," McHugh adds. There, she uses the "About Us" section to let buyers know where else she sells online.
She's even named the Auctiva Commerce Store the same as her eBay Store, and redirected the domain she'd purchased through Auctiva to the new site. That way, returning customers will still be able to find her products.
All the trimmings
As much as McHugh has already done in the way of marketing, she'd like to do more. But the few hours she has each day to devote to it right now are spent getting more products listed.
It can be tedious and time consuming, but McHugh has found that some of the features built into Auctiva Commerce are really convenient and can save time in the long run.
As far as how big I want to get, that's just a matter of how big can I get
"There are so many things you can do in your Auctiva Commerce store as far as cross-selling, up-selling and other promotional things. Once you get those set up, then it's simple," she explains. "I've got a multiple-embellishment discount, where if you buy so many, you get so much off. And once I got that set up, all I had to do was put that whole category in that embellishment discount. So now, anytime I add a listing in that category, the discount is already set up. I don't have to set it up every time.
"I also love the cross-selling," she adds. "That way if somebody is looking at the embellishments, you can have them see more of them. And once you've got your shipping set up it's a simple thing to choose a warehouse that item belongs to and your shipping is already set up."
McHugh says she looked into other e-commerce platforms, but found that after adding up all the fees for "extras," the cost would be higher than an Auctiva Commerce store—with fewer features to boot.
"As far as I'm concerned, Auctiva Commerce is the way to go," she says. "It's the best deal out there."
And McHugh remains confident that making the move to the new site will afford her business the best opportunity for growth.
"I definitely want to at least triple the amount of things I have listed by the end of October," she says. "As far as how big I want to get, that's just a matter of how big can I get. I'm going to keep putting effort into it and if it hits the wall and there's nothing else I can do, and this is as far as I can go with it, then that's where I'll be. But as long as there's room to improve and grow then that's what I'll do."